Who hasn't heard of Pokémon GO? Since its launch in 2016, the augmented reality (AR) mobile game has exploded throughout the world. More importantly, it is caused by a single global social phenomenon that symbolizes the concept of AR and virtual reality (VR) to be the main concern. The final step in semiconductor technology has brought amazing processing of horsepower into our lives and has become one of the most instrumental contributors to delivering a unique multi-sensory playing experience.
But is AR and VR only good for games? What we have seen so far is only the tip of the iceberg. Technology up and coming promises many ways to improve the way we live, especially in economically, geographically and geographically diverse regions such as the Asia Pacific. Here, we see three application areas that can benefit greatly from AR and VR.
Saving Human Life
The Asia Pacific has some of the most diverse and dynamic physical landscapes in the world, ranging from rainforests and mountains to steppes and islands. This can be a challenge for rescue agencies when carrying out emergency recovery, disaster recovery, and search and rescue missions. This is where AR can provide additional dimensions that make a difference.
The AR application is being developed which provides a stretch of prominent landmark maps and topographical legends - increasing geographical awareness and allowing rescue teams to navigate difficult terrain better. VR is also increasingly popular for rescue training, thanks to its ability to simulate certain situations. This empowers rescue agencies to sharpen their skills and help them save more lives.
Improve Travel Experience
The Asia Pacific region not only varies physically, but also culturally and linguistically. In fact, this area has exploded into the largest regional travel market in the world, boasting around 200 million trips out in 2016. We can only imagine how Japanese tourists struggle to find their way on the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur.
One solution comes from Google, which utilizes its Google Translate feature and appears with the AR application which directly translates text printed in 27 languages and can be used to help order food in restaurants and explore cities like local. But overcoming language barriers is only the beginning. We see more and more emerging tools such as the AR travel application that offers interactive and real-time guides to enhance the travel experience. Who knows - next time we visit Angkor Wat, we might be able to use AR technology to visualize cities hidden behind forests.
Add Value to Education
It is encouraging to see that the quality of education in the Asia Pacific is increasing rapidly, and countries such as Japan, Singapore and Taiwan have led the education rankings. It is no coincidence that these countries have aggressively integrated technology into classrooms.
Thanks to VR, elementary school students in Singapore can begin a virtual field trip. For example, this could let them explore the way farmers use high-tech machinery on offshore fish farms and better understand the local agricultural sector, even though high urban populations and limited land at home. We can also expect VR to be used in medical schools in the Asia Pacific as some U.S. universities have. One such project - the UCLA Motion Capture Laboratory - is being used by neurologists to understand how the brain encodes and takes memories in new environments.
None of these futuristic applications is possible without constant innovation in the "brains" of every smart device - a microprocessor, which is built on semiconductors. Developments always take place to make this as small as possible without sacrificing performance, especially because smart devices are becoming more ubiquitous. When we look forward to the next innovation in AR and VR, keep in mind that sometimes the smallest things can give the biggest change.